Carragher Has “Great Hope” for Liverpool Title Challenge

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Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool’s performances in the opening 10 Premier League games have created ‘great hope’ for the remainder of the season.

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
2 Manchester City 11 7 3 1 25 10 15 24
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 23 10 13 23
4 Liverpool 10 7 2 1 24 13 11 23
5 Tottenham Hotspur 10 5 5 0 14 5 9 20
6 Everton 11 5 3 3 15 12 3 18

The Reds legend was encouraged by the manner with which Jürgen Klopp’s side claimed a 4-2 victory from a tricky contest at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

That win – the team’s seventh of the campaign – ensured Carragher’s former club maintained pace with leaders Arsenal and Manchester City on 23 points.

The ex-Red and Sky pundit thinks Liverpool are positioned to turn a lack of European football to their advantage.

Having overcome one of their biggest bogey teams last weekend and level on points with league leaders Manchester City and Arsenal with a quarter of the season gone, Liverpool look genuine title contenders. There’s a long way to go, and a lot can change, but at the start of November the Reds are one of the frontrunners.

Given their difficult start to the season—playing all of August away from home and facing Arsenal, Tottenham, Leicester, and Chelsea before the end of September—that’s not something even the club’s most hopeful fans were expecting when the season started, and Jamie Carragher thinks that’s a huge mark in their favour.

On Monday Night Football Carragher said:

“They had a tough start so to now be so close to the top of the table gives you great hope going forward.  I think with the start Liverpool had, if someone had said they’d be around the top four, a couple of points off, I think most Liverpool fans would have been delighted.”

The delight wouldn’t have been with just being near the top four. Instead, it would have been for navigating a difficult start and being well positioned to push on as the season wore on given their advantage of not being in Europe this season, an advantage they used to good effect during their 2013-14 title challenge.

“I go back to that season with Brendan Rodgers.  That’s what nearly took Liverpool to the title—that extra energy, intensity, closing people down, fast football. Against Crystal Palace, the defence wasn’t great, but their intensity and the way they closed people down was reminiscent of a couple of years ago.”

True as that may be, a second half push still requires a strong foundation.  Despite the difficult start Liverpool are positioned well and with a good squad to move forwards with.

 

 

James Corden’s hilarious attempt at managing a football club

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James Corden has many talents: carpool karaoke, acting, and arguably comedy.

Coaching football, however, is clearly not his forte.

In this skit for his show, Corden takes over as the head coach of Arsenal Football Club — to the apparent bafflement and irritation of the club’s elite players.

Corden leads the team in a chorus of “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” forces them to undergo a wacky sport psychology session, and introduces some… unique new celebratory dances.

“I think I’m never going to get this hour back in my life,” footballer Héctor Bellerín says. Unclear whether the quote is an intentional part of the skit or a genuine sentiment!

Wales and their team photo formations

Wales employ the 3-8 formation before the Georgia World Cup qualifier. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Wales employ the 3-8 formation before the Georgia World Cup qualifier. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Anyone passing a glance over Wales’s pre-match team photos in recent months would notice there’s something just not quite right about them.

From the numbers not stacking up (four at the back, seven at the front anyone?) to the lopsided nature of the players’ arrangement when a more traditional six-plus-five formation is put into practice, it would appear members of the Welsh national team have a curiously skewed idea of what symmetry is.  Then again, it’s more likely that they’re just having a bit a team in-joke.

 

The 4-7 formation (before the Austria game at Euro 2016). Photograph: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

The 4-7 formation (before the Austria game at Euro 2016). Photograph: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

Another lopsided effort from 2015 (before Belgium in the Euro 2016 qualifiers). Photograph: Getty Images

Another lopsided effort from 2015 (before Belgium in the Euro 2016 qualifiers). Photograph: Getty Images

Just loose (before a friendly with Australia in Cardiff in 2011). Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Just loose (before a friendly with Australia in Cardiff in 2011). Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Man United break another record… their squad is worth 100% more than Liverpool’s

CIES Football Observatory revealing that they have the most valuable squad of players in world football.

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As their research into Europe’s top five leagues shows, Man United’s first-team squad cost €718m (£628m) to assemble, putting them ahead of Real Madrid and Manchester City.

Interestingly, Liverpool’s €356m (£311m) is less than half of Man United’s outlay, while title-winning Leicester have a squad worth just 18% of the Manchester rivals’ ranks.

Liverpool face Tottenham in EFL Cup Fourth Round

 

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Jürgen Klopp says he is already looking forward to Liverpool’s EFL Cup meeting with Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield next month after the sides were paired in the fourth-round draw.

The Reds are set to take on Mauricio Pochettino’s team for a place in the semi-finals of a competition they have won on a record eight occasions as a round packed with mouthwatering ties is played out.

Klopp admits to raising a smile when he saw Liverpool’s Premier League rivals paired with each other prior to his team coming out of the hat, though he remains excited by the prospect of a headline clash with Spurs.

And he believes the fixture is a good opportunity for his players and the club’s supporters to create a big atmosphere in the absence of European football this term:

“It’s exciting. It’s the first draw I watched live because I saw the game before.  I was waiting for the draw and then saw West Ham – Chelsea, a little smile to be honest; then Manchester United – City, oh nice, another smile; then a freeze in my face because we got Tottenham! But it’s good. I think it’s a big boost for the competition.

“When I came here I had to explain why we field strong line-ups and now in the competition it looks like a semi-final each game.

“It’s a big opportunity for all the teams, they all try to go through and you can see this with the line-ups. That’s pretty exciting. I am happy about playing at home.

“When we cannot have European nights, let’s take what we can get. It will be fantastic and I am really looking forward to it.”

 

The two sides have faced each other already this season, playing out a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane in a match in which the Reds had a slight advantage on balance of play.

 

 

Liverpool have confirmed their EFL Cup fourth-round tie with Tottenham Hotspur will be played on Tuesday October 25 at 7.45pm.  The pairing of a number of the remaining bigger clubs this time around means that at least a few lower league sides should make it through to the quarter-finals in November. The EFL Cup then takes a break for December before the remaining teams face a two-legged semi-final in January.

Liverpool FC: One year on

Philippe Coutinho is mobbed after scoring Liverpool’s second goal at Derby. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Philippe Coutinho is mobbed after scoring Liverpool’s second goal at Derby. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

A year is a long time in the world of football.  It was only a year ago that the team was playing so poorly that Brendan Rodgers lost his job.

Jürgen Klopp has brought a different style of football – more entertaining and effective style of football – not always needing to pass the ball into the back of the net.  As an example, last season from the 9th August when the Premier League season began to when Liverpool completed their 3rd round League Cup match against Carlisle, the team only scored six goals in all competitions.  Compare that to the 19 goals that Liverpool have scored in one less game so far this season – and that’s including the awful goalless game against Burnley.

And at the opposite end of the pitch in 2015 we were leaking goals: three against West Ham, and three against Manchester United.  This season we see a much-improved Lovren, and exciting performances from Matip and the steady hand of Klavan.

The new look team has got off to a strong start, the goals are flying in, and in these early days, Klopp’s Reds aren’t a team you’d want to bet against.  There’s no telling what the future will hold for Liverpool, but a look back at the recent past can give us hope for brighter days ahead.

Fight for Justice over the Olympics

The It’s a Penalty campaign harnesses the power of sport to protect children from exploitation and abuse around the world, and at major global sporting events.

Throughout the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, It’s a Penalty reached over 300 million people globally. There were 11,252 calls to the Brazilian national crisis line reporting child exploitation.

For the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games, they’re striving to do the same.

It’s a Penalty Informs, Equips, Educates, Spreads Awareness and Communicates about how to make a difference in the global community to protect these children.

Together we can put an end to it.

Sad to see Joe Allen leave Liverpool FC

I was sad to read that that Liverpool and Wales midfielder Joe Allen has transferred to Stoke City, with £11M guaranteed up front plus a further £2M in add-ons.

Allen joined Liverpool in 2012 from Swansea in a £15M move, the first signing of the Brendan Rodgers era at Anfield, but injuries and an inability to ever really find his best position at his new club led to a situation where Allen became something of a utility part in the squad.

That role continued under Jürgen Klopp last season, though Allen increasingly impressed when played either as a driving eight in a three-man midfield or when he was pushed into the attacking support band as a ten. He then shone for Wales in that kind of a role at the Euros.

Joe Allen LFC

I was keen for the player to stay, and Klopp admitted that all things being equal he’d want to keep Allen around. All things, though, weren’t equal. The player had just one year left to go in his deal and wanted to be assured of significant playing time.

Liverpool couldn’t offer that, and didn’t want to lose him on a free. And if he wasn’t going to be a starter as the club looked to reshape itself in Klopp’s image, Liverpool also wanted to bring in—and give playing time to—players who would be around beyond the coming season.

He now will head to an increasingly ambitious Stoke City project, joining players like Xherdan Shaqiri, Bojan Krkic, Marko Arnautovic, and Giannelli Imbula in a side that seeks to entertain and to play up-tempo attacking football. Quite the change from Stoke in years past.

Joe Allen makes the Best XI for Euro 2016

The Liverpool FC legend that is Joe Allen, following Wales’s remarkable run to the semifinals of Euro 2016 made it into the Euro 2016 Team of the Tournament.

Euro 2016 Team of the Tournament

The Welsh Pirlo was the linchpin in the Wales midfield allowing the superstar Gareth Bale and the rest of their attackers to focus on the attacking end. Allen’s terrific performances were a big reason for Wales’s run through the tournament. It was their first ever international tournament and they exceeded all expectations.

Here’s to hoping that the confidence gained from the Best XI award will carry over to the new Premier League season …

Liverpool FC 2016/17 Away Kit

The new Liverpool FC away kit for 2016-2017 has been released.

This year, New Balance dipped back into the black well for the away kit, a trend that is becoming increasingly common, not just for Liverpool, but for many other squads. The design is very reminiscent of Adidas’s last away effort in 2011/12, which was dark grey with silver lettering and red accents.

The new Liverpool 2016-17 Away Shirt combines the main color black with silver logos and applications, one of Liverpool’s most renowned away kit colors. It has a unique constructed collar and features four red lines on each side of the shirt.

The inside of the new Liverpool 16-17 Away Kit reads “Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool,” a famous quote by former manager Bill Shakily.  The Liverpool 2016-2017 Away Kit is combined with black shorts and black socks, creating a strong look for Merseyside club.

This is the new Liverpool 2016-17 goalkeeper away jersey.

Based on the same template as other New Balance 2016-2017 goalkeeper jerseys, the Liverpool 16-17 goalkeeper away shirt is orange with black and white trim.

What do you think of the new Liverpool 2016-2017 Away Kit? Let me know in the comments below.